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Taking the high road



The 1983 Mercedes turbo diesel station wagon that will be rolling into Detroit this weekend isn’t exactly your typical luxury car. In town for our big 300th birthday bash, this vehicle is powered by oil pressed from sterilized pot seeds. The so-called Hemp Car is making a 10,000-mile lap around the good ’ol U.S. of A. to promote the use of renewable biofuels.

Greg Schmid, the driving force behind a proposed pro-marijuana ballot measure here in Michigan, already took a joyride in the car back in April, when he took it for a spin around the U.S. Capitol while in D.C. for NORML’s annual national conference.

This Sunday, July 22, car owners Grayson Sigler and Kellie Ogilvie of Hampton, Va., will begin the day with a jaunt around Belle Isle at 10 a.m. and then make an appearance at Honest?John’s Bar, where participants in the annual Moons Over Jefferson fundraiser will be dropping their drawers at 11:45 a.m. After that it’s on to Hart Plaza, Greektown, Comerica Park and various city neighborhoods.

“The plan,” say organizers, “is to get stuck in traffic, so as many people as possible can see and learn about the hemp car.”

They’ll wrap up the day with a 5 p.m. visit to the Green House (see related story) in Ferndale.

For more information about this potmobile, visit the Web site at

Elsewhere on the marijuana front, Schmid reports that the drive to gather more than 302,000 valid signatures by Oct. 3 is just about on track.

“When we counted a month ago, we had over 100,000 signatures,” said Schmid, a Saginaw attorney. “I’d say right now we’re in the neighborhood of being halfway there.”

He added that, in recent weeks, there’s been a spate of instances where petitioners have been hassled by authorities, from the Cherry Festival in Traverse City to, of all places, the Wyandotte Freedom Festival.

“It’s a constant battle, but we can’t let ourselves be distracted by it,” says Schmid, who is looking forward to using the hopped-up Mercedes to attract some of the several hundred thousand people expected to pour into Detroit for the tercentennial.

“I think the Hemp Car could be a real big boon for us,” he said with typically high hopes.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, the Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail

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